An excruciating ending

John McGreal did not really need words to portray his disappointment to the waiting media, in the immediate aftermath of his side’s painful defeat at Notts County.

The Colchester United’s head coach’s anguish was there for all to see, following the cruel manner of their loss at Meadow Lane.

McGreal admitted his team should have seen the game out, after Sanmi Odelusi’s 89th minute equaliser appeared to have rescued a point.

And the U’s boss was not impressed with his side’s defending for County’s winner, scored by Ryan Yates in the third minute of stoppage-time.

But at the same time, McGreal felt his team's performance – and particularly their first-half display - merited more than the excruciating ending that eventually materialised.

Paying the penalty

Colchester United have not been awarded many penalties, during John McGreal’s 18-month reign as head coach.

So perhaps it was not entirely surprising to see two of their players deliberating who should take the spot-kick awarded to them at Notts County.

In the end, Mikael Mandron, seemingly eager to make up for conceding a penalty at the other end, won his discussion with leading scorer Sammie Szmodics for the right to try and score from the spot.

But the former Sunderland striker’s attempt was weak and he has not failed in his two penalty attempts so far this season for Colchester.

It is hypothetical now but the final outcome might have been different, had Mandron tucked it away.

The Wright stuff

Notts County’s staff and fans were gushing in their praise of Drey Wright following Colchester United’s defeat at Notts County.

The U’s attacker was excellent in the first half of the U’s 2-1 loss at Meadow Lane, particularly in the opening half hour.

For the second successive match, Wright shone in a central role just behind Mikael Mandron and followed up his impressive display against Lincoln City in midweek with another fine performance.

Perhaps John McGreal’s decision to leave Wright out of his starting line-up for the recent goal-less draw with Morecambe has had the desired effect.

Indeed, the U’s might well have unearthed a role in which the versatile attacker can shine, in the coming months.

Trouble on the touchline

Nolan’s animated antics on the touchline at Meadow Lane were perhaps a sign of how well Colchester United played.

Nolan’s high-flying Notts County side, so used to winning games on home territory in League Two, found themselves frustrated by the U’s who were the better outfit in the first half and defended well for much of the second period.

At one point, referee Mark Heywood had to politely advise Nolan to tone down his actions but the hosts looked to turn up the heat on the officials, both on and off the pitch.

“I think they were (disputing decisions) from minute one, from the bench and on the touchline to the fourth official,” admitted U’s boss John McGreal.

“I try to keep my own counsel really and I don’t worry about what other managers and players do – I’ve just got to try and look after my own players and myself and there’s ways to do it.”

Nolan is one of a number of opposition managers over recent weeks whose touchline actions have been particularly enthusiastic, following the vivacious behaviour of the likes of Danny Cowley, David Artell and Steve Evans.

McGreal’s stance is laudable given the pressure managers are under to get results.

Odelusi’s turning point?

What a shame that Sanmi Odelusi’s first-ever Colchester United goal was in the end not enough to secure them a point at Notts County.

The former Bolton Wanderers attacker’s opportunities have been few and far between since he joined the U’s from Wigan Athletic on a short-term contract, back in August.

The majority of Odelusi’s spell at the Weston Homes Community Stadium has to date been spent on the substitutes’ bench as a bit-part player.

But his high work ethic in training has been noted by U’s head coach John McGreal, despite his lack of League Two action.

He took his goal well at Meadow Lane and will now be hoping that it was the moment that will finally help to kick-start his Colchester career.